Justin Payne named GSW women’s head basketball coach
Published 11:33 am Thursday, April 18, 2019
From Staff Reports
AMERICUS – Georgia Southwestern State University has hired Justin Payne to be the new head women’s basketball coach. GSW Athletic Director Mike Leeder made the announcement on Monday, April 15.
Payne recently completed his eighth season as an assistant coach at Nicholls State University, an NCAA Division 1 school in Thibodaux, LA.
“I want to thank all of the people who were a part of this process,” Payne said. “One thing that I was really excited about when I came on campus a week ago was the family atmosphere from all the coaches and from the administration. It was amazing. It was something similar to what we had at Nicholls. We know what you can do with that family atmosphere.”
During the 2018-19 season, the Lady Colonels of Nicholls State finished with an overall record of 20-12 and finished 14-4 in the Southland Conference. That achievement earned them a trip to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT). During the 2017-18 season, the Lady Colonels won the Southland Conference Tournament and earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. It was the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in school history.
“One of the things I wanted to find in a new coach was someone who was not afraid of a challenge,” Leeder said. “I wanted somebody who had been part of a turnaround. The third thing, and maybe the most important, was the ability to recruit. Justin’s track record of recruiting at Nicholls State had me very comfortable in what we explained to him that what we had in our women’s program. He has been very successful and will excel within our geographic footprint.”
A native of Opelousas, LA, Payne played at Nicholls State and was a three-year starter at point guard, lettering all four seasons from 2005-06 to 2008-09. He led the Colonels to a 20-11 record during the 2008-09 season. Payne led the team for three seasons in assists and tallied a total of 329 assists in his career, which ranks sixth in program history. He started 89 games and played in 111 during his collegiate career.
“I expect energy and effort. That is non-negotiable,” Payne said. “We’re going to play hard. We’re going to be fun to watch. People are going to be excited to watch GSW women’s basketball. This is an exciting time to be at Georgia Southwestern. We’re on an upward trajectory. ”
GSW President Neal Weaver, Ph.D., is excited about what Payne intends to bring to the women’s basketball program. “I think the players will have a great time getting to know Coach Payne and being a part of his program,” Weaver said. “Our campus, the community of Americus and the southwest region of Georgia will be thrilled and excited about what Coach Payne will be bringing to Georgia Southwestern. I look forward to watching the great things that are about to happen with our women’s basketball program.”